For the second year in a row, Marseille and Noisy-le-Sec will play in the final of the French League playoffs.
In both semifinal games, reigning champion Marseille beat Tourcoing by seven goals – 17:10 and 19:12.
Noisy lost to Strasbourg in the return leg (8:9). Still, the Parisians advanced to the final thanks to an 11:7 victory at home.
Montpellier won 5th place and qualified for the LEN Euro Cup.
Strasbourg – Noisy-le-Sec 9:8 (3:3, 2:0, 2:2, 2:3) – 1st leg 7:11
Strasbourg: Vix 3,Missy 2, Babic 2, Cesca 1, Misic 1
Noisy-le-Sec Cercle 93: Petkovic 3, Do Carmo 1, Causette 1, Peisson 1, Marzouki 1, Krapic 1,
Marseille – Tourcoing 19:12 (3:3, 4:2, 8:5, 4:2) – 1st leg 17:10
Marseille: Vernoux 6, Bouet 3, Marion-Vernoux 2,Crousillat 2, Prlainovic 1, Olivon 1, Kovacevic 1, Vukicevic 1, Bodegas 1, Lena 1.
Tourcoing: Canonne 8, Crosetti 2, Gagulic 1, Krisman 1.
Strasbourg couldn’t overcome a 4-goal deficit from the first leg of the duel with Noisy. After a 3:3 first quarter, Strasbourg built a 2-goal lead by halftime (5:3) and maintained the difference until the last break (7:5). Early in the fourth period, Strasbourg’s Leo Cesca scored from a counter-attack for 8:5 and boosted the hosts’ hopes of earning a 4-goal win. However, Ivan Krapic responded immediately (6:8). The home side stretched the margin to three once more after Nicolas Missy hit the back of the net for 9:6. Still, the hosts didn’t go further. The visitors cut the deficit to one (8:9) with 03:18 minutes left on the clock. Noisy controlled the match until the end to book a ticket for the final.
Everything in the duel between Marseille and Tourcoing was practically decided after Marseille’s 17:10 victory in the first match. The second match was played just two days after Marseille lost to Pro Recco in the Champions League derby. Tourcoing kept up with the hosts for more than two quarters. In the 18th minute, the sides were tied at 7:7. But, in the third period, with even 13 goals, the title-holder earned a comfortable 15:10 lead. Marseille had an 8-goal advantage (19:11). Tourcoing scored a consolation goal shortly before the end. Charles Cannone (Tourcoing) and Thomas Vernoux (Marseille) scored almost half of the goals in this duel.
The final and the third-place matches are scheduled for May 18 and 21. The first games will be played in Paris and Lille. Marseille and Strasbourg will be the hosts in the 2nd leg.
Marseille and Noisy have already met in one final this season. Marseille won the French Cup beating the Parisians in the gold-medal match in Abbeville in January. Tourcoing defeated Strasbourg in the third-place game in the same tournament.
Pays d’Aix – Montpellier 11:14 (3:2, 3:5, 3:4, 2:3) – 1st leg 12:12
Pays d’Aix: Dino 3, Khasz 2, Grgurevic 2, Bakircilar 2, Monneret 1, Giga 1,
Montpellier: Mustur 3, Ivankovic 3, D.Zivkovic 3,Piot 2, Kalinic 2, Spilliaert 1.
Pays d’Aix failed to upgrade a solid result achieved in Montpellier. Aix dictated the pace for a quarter and a half. It had a 2-goal lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter. But, the visitors produced a 4:1 run and led 7:6 at halftime. Pays d’ Aix caught up with Montpellier twice during the third quarter (7:7 and 8:8). Still, Montpellier entered the final quarter with a 2-goal lead (11:9). Midway through the fourth quarter, the visitors doubled their advantage (14:10 – 29th minute). After that, Pays d’Aix wasn’t able to come back once more.